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Last Update on: August 25th, 2023 at 11:52 am

Former batsman Sanjay Manjrekar has urged the Indian team management to fit in left-handed Tilak Varma in the playing XI for the forthcoming Asia Cup 2023 encounter against Pakistan. Team India will be opening their campaign in the Asia Cup by taking on the arch-rivals on September 2 in Pallekele.

The Ajit Agarkar-led selection panel has named a 17-member India squad for the Asia Cup and Tilak Varma has received his maiden ODI call-up for the tournament. The southpaw has played only 7 T20Is for Team India so far and has made an impressive start to his international career.

India’s playing XI could have a new look as the likes of KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer have returned to the team although the former is set to miss at least the first game as he is still carrying a niggle. And while only time will tell how Team India lines up against Pakistan, Sanjay Manjrekar has revealed the lineup he would like to see in Team India’s Asia Cup 2023 opener.

Sanjay Manjrekar predicts India’s combination for the Asia Cup opener:

Speaking on ESPNcricinfo, Sanjay Manjrekar predicted India’s lineup for the upcoming Asia Cup. The former cricketer-turned-commentator stated that he would pick three pacers in the team – Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, and Mohammed Shami while allrounder Hardik Pandya would be the fourth option.

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For the spin department, he snubbed Axar Patel and went with Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja. Talking about the batting lineup, Sanjay Manjrekar began by picking Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, and Virat Kohli as the top three before saying that Rahul would also get a place in the team because he is the wicketkeeper.

“My three seamers would be Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami. Hardik Pandya would be my fourth seamer. My spinners would be Jadeja and Kuldeep. My opener would be Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma. No. 3 batter would be Virat Kohli. KL Rahul would play because he is the keeper,” said Sanjay Manjrekar.

Speaking further, Sanjay Manjrekar said that India have too many right-handed batters in their lineup and need to play Tilak Varma as the left-handed option in the middle order.

“Either Shreyas Iyer or Tilak Varma could play [in the middle-order]. I am saying this because in India’s first-choice side XI, the first seven (six) batters, including Hardik Pandya, are all right-handers. Somewhere, India will have to fit in a left-hander in Tilak Varma. This is a problem India has,” Sanjay Manjrekar opined.

India’s Asia Cup 2023 squad: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya (VC), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Prasidh Krishna.

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